Influencing change for a greener world
1. Who are you? And what is your passion?
My heroes have always been people who dedicate their lives to others, whether they are people or animals.
I've always enjoyed being outside. Just being in nature and with animals. I want to make a career out of something I love and care about, and protect this for future generations.
I’m proud to follow my dreams and to make them happen. I took time out after my A levels to ensure I was making the right next step.
I travelled widely – across the USA, into Europe, and my favourite places, Japan and Korea – which strengthened my hold on a passion to pursue – protecting the environment.
I'm now a second year, BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare student, and animal rights and conservation are very important to me.
I believe we can make the difference for a better world. Campaigning has proven to have the power to influence government policy, so we need to keep doing this.
I campaigned at the Plymouth Global Climate Strike and it was exciting being part of one voice. It finally feels like we are being heard. I hope this momentum continues.
2. What does studying animal behaviour and welfare in 2019 look like? How does Plymouth lead the way?
I am really lucky to be studying something I love, which is every child’s dream.
Plymouth is really strong in the marine biology sector. There is so much cutting-edge research happening every day. Every year there are more brilliant students who can pave the way and make changes that matter.
Getting my teeth into the behaviour modules, I’m beginning to pick the areas I want to specialise in, looking ahead to my placement year and beyond.
I want to get as much varied experience as possible. I've worked for the Natural History Book Service. Volunteered at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. Seen gorillas in the wild. With the University's support, I'm on the right track to turning my passion into a career.
3. What is a fear you’d like to conquer?
I've always feared being wrong. Being judged by people – even by people I like and are my friends. But I have moved past this now, because it is okay to be wrong.
I make mistakes. Everybody does. It’s about what you learn from every mistake and how this motivates your next decision.
On a more global level, the current state of the world drains me. It is the fact that the most powerful people in the world probably don't want to make the same changes that I do.
You're always battling people who want to do things for profit. And that's very difficult, but it needs to be done, and we won't give up.
4. How do you respond when faced with a problem?
I use the knowledge and experience of others – I always consult friends and family. Reputable internet forums are also a great place for advice on new subjects. It’s important to not always try and tackle a problem alone. There is always support out there for you.
For example, after my first year, I worked for the charity East African Playgrounds in Uganda. I lived and worked within a local community to build a school playground.
A playground is a classroom in disguise. Children don't feel like they are learning, but really they are taking in the whole world while playing with their friends.
The right to play is in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. It encourages social skills, cognitive and fine motor skills, creativity, communication, problem solving and many others.
I wanted to give this gift to these children because I was fortunate to grow up with safe areas to play, grow and thrive. It was great to come together, to exchange cultures, and to make a real difference to this issue.
5. What do you know of that you believe could really change our world for the better?
We already have the knowledge and technology to drastically reduce our emissions to help stop climate change. It's about whether these resources are invested in and implemented in time.
As a vegetarian, I'm particularly excited about lab-grown meat, because this removes the ethical problem of eating meat for me. I hope this becomes affordable because although it’s already been developed, it's really expensive at the moment without further investment.
6. What do you want the world to look like in 10 years?
I hope we have a greener world. To see more reforestation and investment in renewable energies. To take more steps towards a cleaner Earth.
I want to work in a position that combines animal behaviour with conservation. I want to use the understanding of the way animals behave to improve the relationship they have with society.
In Uganda, we trekked through beautiful landscapes to find the last remaining silverback mountain gorillas. This experience of seeing large, wild animals in their natural habitat was truly amazing. When you look them in the eyes in the wild, it's very different to looking at an animal in a zoo. You realise this is how the world is really meant to be.
I want to be a part of something bigger than myself and make a positive change for the entire planet. For us to live more harmoniously with nature, and to have a reduced effect on the biodiversity that exists in the world.
7. If you had the chance to share one message to the whole world, what would it be?
For everyone to be more kind to each other, and to be kinder to the Earth.
The quality I would like to be known for is my compassion. If more people were compassionate there would be less conflict in our world.
Improving welfare by understanding animal behaviour
Explore the evolution of behaviour in a variety of species and consider the many aspects of animal welfare, including an examination of legal and ethical frameworks.
While undertaking practical work and conducting behavioural and welfare assessment studies, you will gain the skills sought by employers and have the knowledge to make a difference.